Atelier Tanaka Volume 4 Chapter 2 part9
Territory Pioneering 2
“I-It’s not like I’m nervous or anything!”
Nobody had said anything pertaining to the Elf-san’s obvious nervous state.
Both of them were in terrible condition and it was as if they were having a competition on stage to see who could sweat more. Neither of them was likely to speak which left only one other person on stage to move the discussion along.
“Perhaps it would be easier if I were to the one asking the questions.”
Fahren-sama had been silently observing for the most part but now he was taking the lead.
Everyone’s eyes had been locked on the pair seated at the table, but the moment Fahren-sama spoke their attention snapped to him in an instant. There were hundreds, no, probably over a thousand people with their eyes locked on him. If Fahren-sama was nervous he gave no indication as he spoke with a calm and even tone.
“Given everything that’s been said today, I’m forced to ask if you had a partner you worked with to come up with your method.”
“No, there’s nobody else.”
“There will be no punishment if you had a partner that you’ve failed to mention thus far. It’s common for researchers in the school to aid one another. However, if this method you claim to be yours was discovered by a student and you’ve decided to present it as your own…well, that will be another matter entirely.”
“As I said before, I had no partner.”
“I’m speaking to you as a mage. Forget all of the politics and our position amongst the nobility. As a mage, I would never allow anyone to deny a fellow mage — one of your students even — the recognition they rightly deserve. I will do everything in my power to ensure you receive a punishment I deem fitting for such a sinful and, quite frankly, pathetic act.”
“Of course, and I would have no less for anyone that was caught doing such a terrible thing.”
As usual, Fahren-sama was professing his love for magic.
But Nannuzzi-sama was expressing her innocence to him.
“Then, would you care to offer an explanation, Miss Nannuzzi?”
“I have nothing to explain. This discovery was based solely on my own research.”
I was holding out hope until the end, but I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that Fahren-sama didn’t bring up my accusation. This is a room filled with nobles and the words of a commoner would hold no weight. And the same goes for Fahren-sama.
Fahren-sama’s only concern is the world of magic.
It’s quite obvious who is the superior between a teacher at the academy like Nannuzzi-sama and a simple maid like myself. I’m sure the only reason he even bothered arranging this event was because Tanaka-san was involved. It’s definitely because of Tanaka-san.
Without him here, I don’t see any outcome that ends well for me.
Nannuzzi-sama has no weak points.
Fahren-sama began his mediation once more.
“I understand. In that case….”
When, suddenly, a new third voice rang out from behind the stage curtain.
“Not so fast!”
A person emerged from behind the curtain, her boots sent a loud thud echoing out through the stadium with each confident step she took towards the centre table. This woman was dressed in an outfit more fitting for a male member of the nobility, but the confidence she exuded made the outfit fit her far better than any male counterpart. Even though we were of the same gender, I was enraptured by her enthralling visage.
There was only one person this description could match.
Nannuzzi-sama let her voice slip unintentionally.
The terror in her voice was clear for all to hear.
“You’re lying to protect yourself.”
The calm expression Nannuzzi-sama had been holding up to this point began to falter.
The icy stare Ester-sama cast on Nannuzzi-sama was truly frightening.
Whenever I’m put into a scary situation due to Tanaka-san’s actions, I can’t help but wet myself a little. I’m sure Nannuzzi-sama is experiencing a similar moist feeling below her waist now.
At first, it’s warm and feels nice.
But soon, it will grow cold to match the terror I feel in my heart.
“W-What do you mean by that, Viscount FitzClarence?”
“I’m not nearly as patient as Lord Fahren.”
“…I’m sorry, but I don’t have any idea what you’re talking about.”
But Nannuzzi-sama wasn’t backing down yet.
She regained her composure before responding calmly.
Women grow increasingly cunning as they age. As a woman, I can attest to this fact. The seven-year-old me was more cunning than when I was three and the ten-year-old me far more cunning than the seven-year-old me. The me of today is capable of thinking of things the ten-year-old me would never even consider a possibility.
The conniving nature of women will never cease to amaze me.
Which is why a woman of thirty was a woman to be feared.
A middle-aged woman that’s been backed into a corner is the ultimate opponent.
“I saw it with my own eyes! This woman witnessed one of her students conduct this experiment in her classroom and stole it for her own profit! As his benefactor, classmate, and as someone who wishes to become a mage I will not allow myself to sit idly by as she profits for another’s work!”
Her dignified voice echoed throughout the halls of the venue.
Up until now, the Elf-san had been doing her best with her voice cracking and knees trembling. It was an all-out attack on Nannuzzi-sama’s very foundation.
But Ester-sama chose a different tactic. Her words were filled with all the passion and love she holds for Tanaka-san.
I can recall seeing a similar scene to this before.
Ester-sama disregarded the Elf-san’s objections.
“Criminals must be punished!”
But Nannuzzi-sama wasn’t going to give up so easily.
“Please, wait just a moment, Viscount FitzClarence.”
“What did you mean by benefactor?”
Nannuzzi-sama’s eyes were shining.
She had latched onto something Ester-sama said and was preparing her counterattack. It doesn’t seem like the smartest idea to bring up Tanaka-san’s name in a room filled with the nobility.
I’ve heard rumours that many of the nobility are disapproving of Tanaka-san being given his title and most know that it was Ester-sama that got him that title. This is just my own guess, but even if they’re all members of the same noble class, they’d be more than willing to condemn one of their own as punishment for promoting a commoner to a noble position.
“Nothing more than what I said!”
“Wasn’t it just the other day that a commoner sponsored by Viscount FitzClarence was given the rank of baron…?”
“That’s right! He’s someone that has earned Lord Fahren’s respect. A great magician more powerful than a thousand mages.”
“A-Aren’t you going too far dragging Lord Fahren’s name into this?”
“How can you say that?”
“This man is a more powerful magician than Lord Fahren could ever hope to be!”
“But his impressiveness isn’t strictly limited to his magic. Ufufu~”
Ester-sama spoke with the utmost confidence.
I’m sure Tanaka-san would be overjoyed to hear this.
“It’s clear the Viscount FitzClarence’s accusations are originating from a place of jealousy, and I believe someone that would wish to condemn a teacher of this academy based solely on falsehoods and accusations without any evidence or witnesses should be punished for slandering my name and the reputation of the academy.”
“You can’t be serious.”
“I stand by what I said earlier. T-This research was mine and mine alone.”
The FitzClarence name was clearly having an effect on Nannuzzi-sama. She was still trying to put up a fight, but she was clearly on the defensive and her voice was shaking much more than when it was just the Elf-san and her.
Ester-sama’s argument seemed to have less ground to stand on than the Elf-san’s, but the difference in their status accounted for so much more than the words being exchanged.
I know I’m just a simple commoner, but I really don’t understand how anyone could work or conduct any form of research in such a cutthroat and chaotic environment. I don’t see how it’s possible. I wonder if Fahren-sama would even bother answering if I were to ask him about it.
I’m actually curious, but I’m far too scared to ever ask him.
“You all feel the same as me, don’t you?”
Perhaps I’m not the only one afraid of addressing Fahren-sama.
Nannuzzi-sama had turned her focus to the gathered nobles in the audience.
It didn’t take long for the audience to join in the discussion.
“It’s improper to call a researcher’s results into question based only on an accusation without any form of evidence.” “Yes, I believe so as well.” “The actions of Viscount FitzClarence have become increasingly unbecoming of a person of her status.” “I believe that this newly appointed baron is actually involved in a secret tryst with the Viscount.” “So that’s the type of person the daughter of the FitzClarence family is!”
The louder voices most likely consisted of a faction that directly opposed the FitzClarence family as a whole.
Teachers and students of the academy all belong to their own factions outside of the school. It’s not surprising that these connections would then begin to appear within the walls of the academy itself. However, everything they said was actually spot-on and I don’t see how Ester-sama can refute it.
The only bright side is those few that spoke up are the only people that Nannuzzi-sama can consider her allies. Fortunately, they all appeared to be lower-ranking nobles with the highest ranking among them to be of similar status to Nannuzzi-sama.
With the power they hold on their own, they could never match the might of the FitzClarence family. They’re taking this opportunity to band together in the hopes of striking a significant blow to Ester-sama’s family. It’s also possible this was Nannuzzi-sama’s plan coming into this event.
Or maybe I’ve just read too many stories.
There was a similar development in the climax of a book I read not long ago.
However, Ester-sama was the anomaly. A character like her never appeared in any of the books I’d read in the past.
“Those that wish to voice their complaints should tell me your names so I can see to it that you receive a deserving punishment for your impudence!”
As soon as she said this the room fell silent.
But also scary.
Thankfully, she’s regained control of the situation.
“Nannuzzi, would you care to hear a suggestion?”
“What would that be?”
“I want you to meet the alchemist all of this controversy revolves around. A person I respect and my respect is hard to earn.”
“Are you against that idea?”
“D-D-D-Don’t be absurd! It would be my pleasure to meet someone that you say has earned Lord Fahren’s respect. I too wish to pursue my dreams of magic and it would be my honour to meet with someone of such high esteem.”
“That’s good to hear.”
“But, umm, this alchemist that’s respected by Lord Fahren….”
The two of them are going to meet.
That does seem like the best course of action. I believe that if Tanaka-san gets involved there’s no way things will end badly. I don’t really know why myself, but I feel like he’s the type of person that can solve any problem.
“I believe it best if we bring an end to this discussion for today. This event is meant to showcase the discoveries of our staff and have others compete with them, recognize each other’s achievements, and, ultimately, improve one another in order to achieve our common goal of mastering the magical world. It is not, however, a place to throw out unfounded accusations. Doing so dishonours this event and I would be ashamed to call myself director if I allowed this to continue.”
Magic — Fharen-sama’s one true love — was never far from his mind.
It’s easy to forget but Tanaka-san has been gone since before everything involving Nannuzzi-sama started. He has no idea what she’s done.
Fahren-sama remained composed on stage as he looked out over the audience. His words may have seemed harsh but, in reality, he was just staying true to his character. He is no one’s ally nor is he anyone’s enemy. He is a magician above all else.
“With that, we’ll bring this discussion to an end for the time being….”
As Fahren-sama was bringing things to a close, voices erupted from the crowd.
“Fahren-sama, if such a person exists then I would like to meet them as well!” “I would give anything to meet such a powerful mage that has earned your respect, Fahren-sama!” “M-Me too! Please, allow me to accompany you!” “If she’s coming then I demand to come as well!”
I immediately understood who these people were.
Fans of Fahren-sama.
A group of a couple dozen or so that were occupying the first row.
They consisted of about eighty percent women and twenty percent men.
I’m sure most of the men wished to suck up to Fahren-sama and as for the women, I recognized a few that the other maids had spread rumours about. They were all single and pursued any eligible bachelor that had enough money or power, but their main focus was always Fahren-sama.
In addition to Fharen-sama’s fans, the anti-FitzClarence faction began demanding they be allowed to witness this meeting as well. This led to others unrelated to either of these groups wanting to take part in the meeting until the entire room had people shouting and raising their hands.
The venue was filled with a loud commotion.
There were many factors to consider which caused Fahren-sama to hesitate for a moment.
After a brief pause, Fahren-sama nodded.
“…fine, I understand. I won’t refuse anyone that wishes to come.”
How much must he trust Tanaka-san?
These words signalled the end of the discussion and the Academic Conference as a whole.
Understanding everything that had been said was difficult and even though I wasn’t directly involved, listening to all the fired up nobles yelling has caused me to sweat profusely. My armpits have become soaked at an unprecedented pace.
I feel like my sweat is starting to smell stronger than usual.